The bioclimatic (dis) comfort and summer thermal paroxysms in Continental Portugal: intensity, frequency and spatial contrasts

José Eduardo Silvério Ventura, Susana Moço, Malheiro Ferreira

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The effects of the changing climate system have become increasingly
important in recent years, leading to a need to better understand, among other
things, what impact they have on population health and human thermal comfort.
This research analyzes the variability of thermal (dis)comfort due to heat in
summer, in Continental Portugal, between 1981 and 2010, based on an appropriate set of bioclimatic indicators. It also addresses the prevailing synoptic situations during climate paroxysms, namely heat waves, by applying the Heat Wave Duration Index formula. The synoptic classification used is an adaptation proposed by Ramos (1987).
We conclude that the feelings of discomfort due to heat are quite frequent. Since
2000, the cities of Coimbra and Lisbon have revealed a trend for thermal sensations of greater intensity.
The results show evidence of spatial contrasts, with the north-west of the country being thermally more comfortable.
On the basis of the occurrence of paroxysms, the position of the Atlantic
anticyclone is connected, at altitude, with situations of meridian circulation and
the dominance of wave regime and blocking. Here, we intend to contribute to the identification of vulnerable areas and predict intense heat situations, preventing risks to public health and human welfare.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationClimate Change and Health
Subtitle of host publicationImproving Resilience and Reducing Risks
EditorsWalter Leal Filho, Ulisses M. Azeiteiro, Fátima Alves
Place of PublicationLondres
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-24660-4
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-24658-1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Climate change
  • Climate variability
  • Thermal comfort
  • Climate vulnerability
  • Climate risk
  • Welfare


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